Luiz Viana Filho was born on 28 March 1908 in Paris, but was registered in the Distrito da Sé, Salvador, Bahia, to Councillor Luiz Viana, president of the Province of Bahia (1896-1900) and Senator of the Republic (1911-1920), and Joana Gertrudes Fichtner.
His primary education was at Colégio Anchieta, in Friburgo (RJ), and Colégio Aldridge, in Rio de Janeiro, and his secondary education was at Colégio Pedro II, Rio de Janeiro, and Ginásio da Bahia, in Salvador.
He entered the Bahia Faculty of Law in 1925, as well as starting journalism as a contributor to the Bahia newspapers Diário da Bahia and A Tarde.
In 1929 he graduated in Juridical and Social Science and began to participate in the Brazilian partisan politics as a staunch opponent of the 1930 Revolution.
Besides being a journalist, he practiced as a lawyer in a partnership with Aliomar Baleeiro and Álvaro Nascimento.
In 1931 he married Julieta Pontes, with whom he had six children: Frederico, Luiz, Lia, Julieta, Celina and Maria Lúcia.
He stood for the 1933-1934 National Constituent Assembly as a candidate for the Liberator Party of Bahia, being elected as the youngest congressman of the time.
Due to the dissolution of the National Congress in 1937, with the installing of the ‘New State’, he began to dedicate himself to teaching and journalism during the Getúlio Vargas government. He was professor of International Public Law at the Bahia Faculty of Law; chair professor of International Private Law and appointed to the chair of History of Brazil at the Bahia Faculty of Philosophy.
After the fall of the Vargas Government, he was elected federal representative for the Constituent government of 1946, returning to Brazilian political life and being re-elected to the legislature in 1950, 1954, 1968, 1962 and 1966.
He began to be interested in biographies, publishing one on Rui Barbosa in 1941. Later he published ones about Joaquim Nabuco, the Baron of Rio Branco, Machado de Assis, José de Alencar, Eça de Queirós and Anísio Teixeira. According to writer Gilberto Freyre, [...] Professor Luiz Viana had the courage to treat those he wrote about as men, admitting the weaknesses, mistakes, contradictions and deficiencies compensated by exceptional virtues or talents [...].
He was elected to occupy Chair nº 22 of the Brazilian Academy of Letters on 8 April 1954, taking possession of it on 15 April 1955, being received by Menotti Del Picchia.
He was a member of various historical and cultural organisations, such as the Historical and Geographical Institute of Bahia, the Bahia Academy of Letters, the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute, the International Academy of Portuguese Culture, the Lisbon Academy of Sciences and the Portuguese Academy of History.
In 1964 he was invited by President Castelo Branco to become head of the Civil House of the Presidency of the Republic and in 1966 ran for Governor of Bahia in an indirect election – a characteristic of the period of the military regime that he supported – being officially sworn in on 15 March 1967. As Governor of Bahia (1967-1971), he implanted the industrial park and the petrochemical hub in Aratu, Bahia; he widened the state schooling network; created the Institute of Artistic and Cultural Patrimony (Ipac), the Bahia Museum of Art (MAB) and the Dois Barris Public Library.
Elected senator in 1974, he carried out his functions as president of the Foreign Relations Commission and as president of the Federal Senate itself, at the 1979-1980 biennial, as well as enlarging the institution’s library which, in 1997, acquired his personal library composed of over 11,000 volumes and around three hundred rare and precious works (Luiz Viana Filho Collection).
Professor, journalist, politician, biographer, historian and essayist, Luiz Vianna Filho left various works, among which the following stand out:
O Direito dos empregados no comércio (The Rights of Employers in Commerce) (1932); A língua do Brasil (The Language of Brazil) (1936); A Sabinada: A república baiana de 1837 (The Bahia Republic of 1837) (1938); A vida de Rui Barbosa (The Life of Rui Barbosa) (1941); A verdade na biografia (Truth in Biography) (1945); O negro na Bahia (The Black Man in Bahia) (1946); Rui e Nabuco (Rui and Nabuco) (1949); A vida de Joaquim Nabuco (The Life of Joaquim Nabuco) (1952); Antologia de Rui Barbosa (Anthology of Rui Barbosa) (1954); A vida do Barão do Rio Branco (The Life of the Baron of Rio Branco) (1959); Da nacionalidade das sociedades (Of the Nationality of Societies) (1959); Afrânio Peixoto (1963); A vida de Machado de Assis (The Life of Machado de Assis) (1965); O Governo Castello Branco (The Castello Branco Government) (1975); Rui Barbosa: seis conferências (Rui Barbosa: Six Conferences) (1977); A vida de José de Alencar (The Life of José de Alencar) (1979); Três estadistas: Rui, Nabuco, Rio Branco (Three Statesmen: Rui, Nabuco, Rio Branco) (1981); A vida de Eça de Queiroz (The Life of Eça de Queiroz) (1983); Petroquímica e industrialização da Bahia: 1967-1971 (Petro-chemistry and Industrialisation of Bahia: 1967-1971 (1984); Octavio Mangabeira: um homem na tempestade (Octavio Mangabeira: A Man in the Storm) (1986); Anísio Teixeira: a polêmica da educação (Anísio Texeira: The Polemic of Education) (1990).
He died in São Paulo on 5 June 1990, when he was in the final year of his second mandate as a senator of the Republic (1982-1990).
Recife, 20 October 2010.
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2011.
Updated on 02 april 2018.
ATO solene comemora os 100 anos de Luiz Viana Filho. Disponível em: <http://www.bahiaemfoco.com/noticia/6164/ato-solene-comemora-os-100-anos-de-luiz-viana-filho>. Acesso: 20 out. 2010.
BOAVENTURA, Edivaldo M. (Org.). Homenagem a Luiz Viana Filho. Brasília, D.F.: Senado Federal, 1991.
COLEÇÃO Luiz Viana Filho. Disponível em: <http://www.senado.gov.br/senado/biblioteca/acervo/colecao_luizvianafilho.asp>. Acesso em: 18 out. 2010.
LUIZ Viana Filho. Disponível em:<http://www.senado.gov.br/senado/biblioteca/acervo/LVF100/vida_01.shtm>. Acesso em: 15 out. 2010.
LUIZ Viana Filho [Foto neste texto]. Disponível em: <https://www12.senado.leg.br/noticias/materias/2008/03/26/luiz-viana-filho-destacou-se-na-vida-cultural-e-politica-do-brasil>. Acesso em: 23 mar. 2018.
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Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Luiz Viana Filho. Pesquisa Escolar On-Line, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.